Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Chronicle of Commencement

Ah yes, I am late to the game in reporting on the high falooting graduation festivities marking the end of George the Younger's elementary days.  Partly this is because I am a lazy procrastinating nere do well.  The other part is because I had a little trouble getting behind the whole 8th grade graduation concept.  My single question - - what exactly is it that he has done to merit a procession, recession, commencement speech and diploma - - all gussied up with a fancy buffet lunch and evening party?  I never did get an answer to that question  - - but come the day of commencement, I was there to witness the event.  I even teared up a little...

OK, so it was more like burst in to tears, but it wasn't the graduation that did it - - it was the suit.  And the tie.  And the dress-up shoes.  There I was rushing around trying to get my own self ready and in walked George the Younger looking like - - well, he was looking like a MAN.  Caught me unawares, even though I was there when he bought the suit, and the tie, and the dress-up shoes.  Something happened when he put all the pieces together and instead of my little boy, he morphed in to something that could have a real girl friend, a drivers license and job.  Sniffle sniffle.

All the cool boys hung out together before the procession. Given all the suits it either had to be a funeral or graduation.  The fedora and the purple shiny shirt (back row) help to rule out the funeral...

Aunt Deb came up for the event, but we failed miserably at our heretofore unblemished record of "getting the best seats" at large community events.  Believe me, at all of Shannon's prior graduations, seating was PRIORITY and Deb was leading the charge.  I think we were one of the first 10 people seated at the RISD graduation last year.  We are professionals.  We are pros.  We were late.  Dang.  Blemished record.  Graduation 2013 we are going to be on top of things.

 Not only were we late, but our default seats were on the wrong side of the auditorium to get any photos of the procession.  We were further on the wrong side of the auditorium to get any photos of the recession.  I (of course) mentioned this to the head of school for future graduations.  Down one side, up the other.  Have to give all the parents a fightin' chance.  And even tho there are no photos, there was the elementary school band playing pomp and circumstance (but again, I still was not clear on why all the pomp - - they managed to read The Giver and take Algebra 1 - - that's it...) and the classe arrived to take their seats on the stage - - all 31 members of the class of 2011.  Huzzah!!!

This is George the Younger being lauded by his science teacher.  Each of the kids got a couple moments of praise from one of the teachers at the school.  It was a nice touch.  I would add this caveat:  Dear Teachers,  You are supposed to be talking about the kids - - not yourself.  Keep this in mind next year when you are blathering on about your homeland in Puerto Rico, your prowess as a music teacher, or your looong tenure at the school.  We.  Don't. Care.  Focus.  Talk. About. The. Student.  Okay?

The next phase of the graduation ceremony (now heading into hour 2.5) was the "Showcase of Great Things I can do" presented by the students themselves.  We had a tap dancer, a couple of singers (loosely defined), we had juggling (yes we did!), we had poetry recited, we had bands and we had a lot of slide shows.  Slide shows were clearly the easiest way to meet this particular showcase o' talent requirement.  George the Younger choice?  Slide show.  This is him introducing it.  It was pretty good.  He also used the music "Like a Slide show" to accompany  slide show - apropos, oui?  And if you are tired of hearing the words "slide show" think about watching a dozen of them.

Requisite diploma and official diploma handshake from head of school.

And then the celebrations:  Kids with candy leis....

George the Younger with his own "Miss Susie" (Blind Side reference for the uninformed") - - we love her!  She loves G and made a GIANT impact in his life these past 3 years.  We owe her big time.  Too bad her eyes are shut.  Hazard of taking photos without your glasses on.  The picture looked good to me when I took it.  Course, I couldn't see it at all, but it looked super!

 A "dance with your mom" moment at the evening party...

And although this isnt' really what was going on - - check out the look of horror and embarrassment that seems to be caused by George the Younger having to watch his mother dance.  We're to the left of the photo and he is behind me.  Technically, he was reacting to something his friend Griffin was saying - - but wowza - - it sure does look like I am scarring him for life.

And that - - was graduation 2011.  George the Younger?  Officially a high school freshman.  Mom?  Still wondering what the diploma says....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rides of Passage

There comes a time in every teenagers life when Mom is just tired of driving him around.  Not old enough for a driver's license yet.   But clearly old enough to want need to break out and do some exploring.  So what's a 14 year old guy to do?  The obvious answer?  Learn to ride the bus.

George the Younger embarked on his first solo SF Municipal transport adventure today.  I know.  Some may say that it's about damn time.  But, I'm a little protective of my chickens, and to be honest, George the Younger isn't generally much of a risk taker.  Getting home by himself = taking risks.  So, today I forced his hand.

He wanted to go to Japantown after summer school with some new buddies from The Hall.  Something tells me he completely anticipated me offering to come and pick him up when he was finished.  Instead, I told him he needed to get himself home.  George the Elder and I took bets this morning that he wouldn't go through with it.  Shock the shit out of me - - but he did it!

Japantown to our neighborhood requires a several block walk to the right street, catching the right bus, getting off at the right bus stop, finding the way to the underground muni station and getting on the correct outbound train.  He's done the train before by himself - - but the rest was a virgin voyage.  It would be stellar if I could say that he managed this journey solely on the single (albeit) very long text that I send him early this morning - - but still.  Thanks to three slightly panicked calls to me (which side of the street?  where is Geary?  What is downhill?  which train?  There's a fork in the road!!!  Which way do I go???  You said 3-4 blocks and it's past 4...), one call to Dad when I apparently did not answer the phone immediately (which side of the street does the bus come on?), and some help from a kind stranger when he found himself heading the wrong way while walking - - I finally got the text that said:  "I'm on the train"  Hurrah!

The most excellent news is that this route is the very same that he could take to school starting in the fall.  When I mentioned this, he looked aghast  - what do you mean you won't always drive me and pick me up when it's SCHOOL?  What he doesn't realize is that this cardinal expedition is the first baby step in his eventual ticket to freedom-from-mom.  This particular light will go on sometime in the middle of next year when he recognizes that my schedule no longer meets his need to hang out places with his buddies.  Or girls.

I'll admit that it's a trifle wistful on my part.  George the Younger is moving further out in to the world.  Taking the bus all by himself and finding his way home.  When he came in the door I gave him a big hug and congratulated him.  A hug containing both my joy and my heartache.  It's my job to make sure he only saw the joy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If at first you...

don't succeed, try again and then crush the flip video underneath your foot while stomping up and down.  Flip Video was another EPIC fail today.  Filmed some and then the camera decided it didn't like me and wouldn't film anymore.  Obviously, when the computer says "Server Rejected" that should be translated to "Stoopid person using camera:  Give it the hell up would ja!!!"

I decided to go the good old fashioned route and just take some photos.  It's not as fun as a moving picture, it doesn't get cool music to go along with it, but it does have the advantage of getting people off my ever lovin arsky about putting up some photos.  You know who you are!!!

All the "fancy schmancy decor" is not done yet (a picture is worth a thousand and all that), but it's getting there bit by bit.  "Fancy Schmancy Decor" in our case refers to whatever it is that we are doing in the CMR.  We're in to mishmash.  Live with it or don't come visit. 

The laundry room photo is clear indication that there are some places in the CMR that are being used as indoor garages :)  The garage -- for which there is no photo - - well let's just say we can get one car and one motorcycle in there.  End. of. story.

I did find that taking movies and photos inside the CMR is a bit tricky doodle given all the windows.  So much light coming in is good for living, bad for a crappy photographer such as myself.  But, you'll get the gist.